(L-R) Theodore J. Leopold, Joseph M. Sellers & Steven J. Toll
(L-R) Theodore J. Leopold, Joseph M. Sellers & Steven J. Toll ()

Palm Beach Gardens-based Leopold Law has merged with Washington-based plaintiffs firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll to create an 80-lawyer firm specializing in complex litigation.

The merger gives Cohen Milstein a presence and office in South Florida and new practice areas of product liability and managed care class action, while Leopold Law gets a national presence.

Theodore Leopold and Leslie Kroeger became partners in Cohen’s new Florida office, while Wallace McCall became of counsel and Diana Martin and Adam Langino joined as associates. The merger was effective two weeks ago.

Leopold, president of the Washington-based Public Justice Foundation, said the merger with the Cohen firm made sense since the two firms had been partnering on cases since the 1990s. They are currently co-counsel on Wal-Mart Stores Inc. employment cases recently decertified by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to expand practices for both firms,” he said. “Their areas of expertise are in security, antitrust and qui tam, and our areas are in product liability and managed care.”

Leopold’s largest verdict was a $131 million verdict against Ford Motor Co., the eighth-largest jury verdict in 2010 and the ninth-largest U.S. verdict against an automotive company in U.S. history. He was on the steering committee in the national managed care class action and the plaintiffs’ settlement committee for the Ford/Firestone national class action.

Cohen Milstein recently obtained a landmark $1 billion antitrust verdict against Dow Chemical Co. over urethane price-fixing and the largest class action settlement in the fraudulent sale of mortgage-backed securities—a $500 million recovery for purchasers of Countrywide Financial Corp. mortgage-backed securities.

According to law firm consultancy Altman Weil, law firm mergers are on the rise. In 2013, a record 78 law firm mergers occurred.

Cohen Milstein has other offices in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago.